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Street smart

A comprehensive community master plan for the University of Calgary’s West Campus      

Calgary, Alberta

The master plan

The West Campus Development Trust (WCDT) Master Plan for the University of Calgary’s West Campus Lands carries forward key principles and ideas generated from extensive community consultation. The150 acre site is reserved for a new mixed-use, urban community. The plan calls for complete streets, a range of housing densities and forms, open spaces to enhance existing parks and landscapes, an office precinct to support the existing hospital, and a new high street designed as a community hub.

West Campus Way

The objective for the West Campus Way high street is to create an accessible, compact street that supports commercial vibrancy. The success of West Campus Way is predicated on creating a pedestrian destination that attracts a critical population mass to support businesses and in turn, development. The street is designed as a comfortable, inviting destination for urban living including, shopping, working, and playing. The character of the street will instill a sense of community pride, reflecting a beautiful, identifiable place.

Transit framework

The master plan includes a complete-streets oriented transportation framework that is integrated with the city's current and future transportation initiatives. The plan includes a four stage phasing strategy to implement multi-modal transportation uses. This will help achieve the critical mass of users to support this major activity center. The first three phases introduce dedicated bus lanes and a shift from on-street parking to parking on adjacent streets, which will support the pedestrian environment. The final stage plans for a dedicated transit-way to accommodate higher order transit (trams or LRTs), dedicated cycling lanes, and an enlarged pedestrian realm.

Market tested

The plan is ground-tested with the development industry and seven neighbouring communities, resulting in a land use structure that achieves a more complete community; with market-tested residential built forms and new open spaces designed to meet community and city needs

Public space

Public spaces have been designed and arranged to provide accessibility to all residents to quality public open space. Pathways and trails link the open space within the community, allowing visitors and residents the ability to move within and between the parks easily by bicycle or on foot. The large park (adjacent to the retail uses on West Campus Way and at the southern terminus of West Campus Gate) will support the function of the retail high street. It is anticipated to have a flexible field and play space, and an adjacent plaza fronted by retail, create a dynamic centre or “heart” for the community. The park and adjacent plaza are highly accessible, linked to the north and south neighborhoods, the hospital and office precinct west, and the University east, by a series of pedestrian connections and trails. These is the opportunity for the location of public art in this space either as a landmark feature at the entrance to the open space or a functional/interactive piece located within the park.

Project facts

Size: 108 ha
Client: West Campus Development Trust
Collaborators: IBI Group (Landscape Architectural Consultants), EXP (Engineering Consultants) D.A.Watt (Transportation Consultants)
Completed: September 2014

Achievements & Awards

Peoples' Choice Award, Calgary Mayor's Urban Design Awards

Approved or Adopted Urban Design Plans, Honorable Mention, Calgary Mayor's Urban Design Awards